Merry Christmas!! Finishing what I started yesterday…
He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. The prophetic word from Isaiah, the great prophet of Messiah. Isaiah can see the time coming when swords will be turned into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks. In other words, weapons will be turned into tools of agriculture. It would be like us turning tanks into tractors, missile silos into grain silos.
So the question remains, do we see the world as a battleground, where our weapons must always be ready at a moments notice? Or is it a Garden, calling out and begging for loving care and nourishment? Is the world fundamentally a dangerous place, or is the world fundamentally the recipient of God’s grace and loving mercy?
Isaiah sees the world better than it is. He sees that God is going to act in Jerusalem to change the world. He doesn’t know when it will happen, but he knows it will be big, and after God acts nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah sees a world where weapons are turned into agricultural tools, a world where people choose to walk in the light of the lord and learn war no more.
For us, Christ has come. It’s time to walk in the light of the Lord and study war no more. War is over. We have to choose to walk in the light of the lord, and if we do, there will be war no more.
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. The invitation of Christ. The invitation to walk in the light of the Lord. Whether the rest of the world walks in the light, we who say Merry Christmas MUST walk in that light. We don’t get to wait to walk in the light when Jesus comes the second time. If we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, we must walk in the light of the Lord right now, and learn war no more.
I’m going to stay away from talking world peace and the warring nations in the world today. I’m not going to talk about the warring nations of the world, I’m going to talk about you and me. Let’s talk about our own personal wars. Let’s talk about our wars with family, friends and coworkers. Our political wars, our Facebook wars. In these wars, it’s time to turn our words that cut like a sword into words that cultivate love, respect, and friendship.
The apostle James says this – “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” James 4:1 ESV. Passions here can also be translated “evil desires”. War is not born somewhere “out there“. War is born right inside each and every one of us. Wars come from the evil desires and passions within us. We have war out there because we have evil desires within us.
We have war in the world because we have war in our heart. We have war in our heart because we have evil desires. We don’t think we have evil desires, we just think we are right. Nobody who goes to war, on Facebook or a literal war with guns and tanks, never think they are unleashing their evil desires. We just think we are right. But wrap your head around this one – thinking you’re right is the evil desire. More specifically, the desire to be right at all costs is the evil desire.
This is introduced very early in the Bible. The original sin has to with prioritizing the desire to be right. We want the knowledge to judge, to know good and evil, we want to be right all the time. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, wanting to be right all the time. Before you know it – their kids are killing each other.
The promise was – you will be like God. You will be wise. You will be right! ““God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” Genesis 3:5-6 NLT. Tasted good! Before you know it, Cain is killing Abel, and it only gets worse from there.
War is the offspring of prioritizing being right over being in relationship. Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree. They ate from the “being right” tree. The priority should have been being in relationship, with God and each other. But being right was more important than being in relationship.
Jesus was right. But Jesus didn’t go to war to defend being right. People go to war because of the evil desire of being right. We all think we are in the right. But we know at least half of us can’t be right, we are deceived.
Jesus chose relationship over being right. You have to forgive to stay in relationship. In every relationship, at some point, something will happen where you believe you are right and being wronged. You might be right, or you might be deceived. It doesn’t matter for you. It happens in every relationship of any significance. From your view, you are in the right. If that’s what is important to you, if you chose to be right and go to war, your evil desire is winning out. The desire to be right above all else is what leads to war.
If it is more important to be in relationship than be right, you forgive. Jesus chose relationship over being right. When the world was wronging Him, He forgave us. Jesus chooses relationship with us over being right.
War ends “out there” when it ends inside of each of us. It ends when it ends in our hearts. “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24 NIV. When we accept Jesus’ terms of discipleship, which are non negotiable, war is over. War is over, because there is nothing to fight for. We expect to lose. We expect to lose our lives, so we can find our true lives. He taught us to walk in the light of the Lord. Jesus taught us His ways. Jesus taught us to value relationship over being right. He taught us to value forgiveness over vengeance. He taught us to value trusting God over fighting for our rights.
When this happens, war is over. It’s part of the salvation being offered by Jesus Christ. Do you want it?
“”It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Isaiah 2:2-5 ESV